I can’t exactly remember when I received the original Yojimbo knife, I’m sure it’s been almost a decade or more. What I do remember is what I thought when I opened the box—“this is one dumb-looking knife.” I must not have been the only one, as the Yojimbo was only around a few years before it was history. Fast-forward to 2005 and a trip to Gunsite where I met Mike Janich. Like many of you, I had been reading Mike’s articles for years but for some reason, did not really catch on to what he had in mind when he designed the original Yojimbo. This error was corrected during a break at Gunsite where Mike took me off to the side and explained what the Yojimbo was designed to do. It was during this short, impromptu training session that I became a fan of the Wharncliffe blade.
Nested stainless steel liners provide structural strength and form the backbone of the knife’s high-strength compression lock mechanism. Note the absence of extensive jimping to avoid unnecessary abrasion.
Like many things that are discontinued, the original Yojimbo soon became an item in high demand, costing far more than the original folder. With demand for the Yojimbo so high, it only made sense that Spyderco would reintroduce the straight-edged classic. I got the opportunity to see a pre-production prototype of what Spyderco would call the Yojimbo 2 and I was quite encouraged with what I saw. While it took longer than expected, Spyderco recently introduced what I believe will become a new classic folder with a hole in the blade.
While Mike Janich has designed general-purpose knives, the Yojimbo 2 is designed to be a tool of personal security, an item that offers peace of mind. The Yojimbo 2 is an evolution of the original and reflects the lessons he learned since the first was introduced. The most obvious feature is the Wharncliffe blade, which Mike prefers on compact carry designed for serious social purposes. A Wharncliffe blade cuts with full power all the way to the point and penetrates better than most other blade profiles. This concept is easily proven with a simple piece of paper. Hold the paper upside down with no other support and stab it with a standard blade design. You will notice the paper is pushed out of the way by the conventional blade “belly.” Try it with a Wharncliffe blade and you will witness the blade punch straight through, trapping the paper in place. Impressive!